Development of a molecular barcoding tool for Plasmodium malaria

Prof Taane G. Clark, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Assoc. Prof Susana Campino, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Dr. Matthew Forrest, TwistDx Ltd

Project Description

Malaria caused by Plasmodium parasites kills ~600,000 people per year, and increased population mobility through international air travel carries further risks of re-introducing parasites to elimination areas and dispersing drug resistant parasites to new regions. Identifying genetic markers that quickly and accurately identifies the malaria species that cause human disease (e.g. P.falciparum, P.vivax, P.malariae, P.ovale, P.knowlesi) and the geographic origin of infections would be a valuable tool for locating the source of outbreaks imported to malaria elimination countries.

This research project will involve DNA analysis of plasmodial mitochondria (Mt) and the apicoplast (Ap) sequences to create reliable genetic barcodes for identifying species and tracking the geographical movement of malaria, potentially for an operational context. It will involve sequencing of Mt and Ap genomes from dry blood filter papers containing Plasmodium isolate DNA, characterisation of a genetic barcode to identify different Plasmodium species and geographical regions, and development of a rapid barcoding tool using TwistDx RPA technology that could be applied in the field.


A suitable applicant would have a background in Molecular biology or a related field, with the enthusiasm to learn “big data” analysis methods and translate a molecular tool into a malaria endemic setting. Please see pathogenseq.lshtm.ac.uk and www.lshtm.ac.uk for information on the LSHTM partner, and www.twistdx.co.uk for information on TwistDx Ltd.

Application

This is an exciting opportunity for graduates from disciplines related to genetics and molecular biology. Knowledge and experience in high-throughput sequencing technologies would be an advantage, as would bioinformatics skills.


Applicants must hold, or be expected to achieve, a first or high upper second-class undergraduate honours degree or equivalent (for example BA, BSc, MSci) or a Masters degree in a relevant subject. Interested applicants are encouraged to contact Taane Clark (taane.clark@lshtm.ac.uk) or Susana Campino (Susana.campino@lshtm.ac.uk) in advance of the deadline, 20th January 2017 at 5pm.


To apply you will need to send the following documents in a single email to: LIDo.Admissions@ucl.ac.uk. All documents must be submitted in unprotected PDF format.


  • Completed Application Form (Sections A and B) including details of two Academic References
  • The disability and ethnic origin monitoring form
  • Official Final Transcripts from Completed Programmes of Study
  • Official Interim Transcripts from On-going Programmes of Study
  • English Language Qualification (if required, please see below)
  • Academic CV
  • Copy of Passport

Please click the relevant links below to download a zipped folder of application documents in your preferred format.
Application Pack (Word).zip
Application Pack (PDF).zip